'Simpsons' is Anti-Gypsy: Reuters coverage

ronkinm at georgetown.edu ronkinm at georgetown.edu
Wed Nov 27 16:44:35 UTC 2002

Hungarian Ombudsman Says 'Simpsons' Is Anti - Gypsy

 November 27, 2002

 Filed at 9:12 a.m. ET

 BUDAPEST, Hungary (Reuters) - An episode of the American
 television cartoon ``The Simpsons'' reinforces Hungarian
 prejudices against its Roma or gypsy population, a rights
 official has said.

 In a letter to the ViaSat3 commercial channel, Hungary's
 minority ombudsman said one episode of the satirical
 animated show featured a Roma character who proves his
 ethnic origin to a school inspector by saying: ``I will
 drink your blood.''

 ``In this scene, one of the characters declares Roma and
 vampires as borderline cases, and ... suggests the Roma in
 general cannot conform to social rules and expectations,''
 Jeno Kaltenbach wrote in the letter dated November 25.

 ViaSat3, which broadcast the episode, said that while the
 Hungarian language dubbing followed the original to the
 letter, translation in such cases could soften ``offensive
 stereotypical expressions.''

 The ombudsman examined the case after a private individual
 complained, the Roma Press Center said Wednesday.

 The Roma are Hungary's largest minority, making up about 5
 percent of the central European nation's population of
 about 10 million.

 ``The Simpsons'' executive producer James Brooks apologized
 in April to Rio de Janeiro after an episode depicted the
 Brazilian city as overrun with rats and monkeys.

 Rio's tourist board said it was considering legal action
 against the show for undermining its tourist industry.

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